Skip to main content

The Images You Choose in Cause Marketing Activations

The image you choose to illustrate a cause marketing campaign matters. A lot.

That’s because very few people in the United State from ages 25-45 really read anymore. But a cause marketing activation in print requires literacy. So the job of the illustration... along with the headline... is to draw people in for the explanation. The images are no less important in cause marketing activations online or on video.

In general terms cause marketing activation refers to how you promote the campaign.

Witness then the illustration in this effort from Massage Envy for their Healing Hands for Arthritis promotion coming up on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012. On that day, Massage Envy will give $10 from every massage and facial to the Arthritis Foundation. In addition, on Sept. 19 Murad will donate 10 percent of sales of its skincare products sold at Massage Envy locations.

Massage Envy is a franchise with more than 700 locations in 43 states. Its business model is like that of a health club. Memberships are $49 to $59 a month, depending on the location, and include one massage per month at no additional charge.

Pictures of hands are usually a visual trope. You know what I mean; the close-up shot of the handshake is a classic example. It’s meant to suggest partnership or friendship. But it’s been done to death. For causes another visual trope is the tiny little hand of a premie reaching for a much larger adult hand.

But the photo-illustration here in this ad from Redbook magazine is subtly different. The hand in the middle is arthritic, with the tell-tale signs of the disease at the joints. Surrounding the hand, it would seem, are the hands of a skilled masseuse. It’s nice.

The only trouble with the illustration is that if you’re just scanning the magazine, which is what a lot of readers of Redbook probably do, it would be easy to miss the subtle cues. That is, if you’re just scanning this shot, all that might register in your pre-frontal cortex is the expected clichés of hands holding hands.  

What should the agency do that prepared this ad for Massage Envy? Truthfully, were I the art director I might have picked a hand model whose arthritis was even more pronounced.


Popular posts from this blog

Three Ways to Be Charitable

I’ve spent a big chunk of my career working with or for charities. Many of my dearest and ablest friends are in the charity ‘space.’ And the creativity and problem-solving coming out of the nonprofit sector has never been greater.  Although I’ve had numerous nonprofit clients over the last decade or so, I haven’t worked in a charity for about 12 years now, which gives me a certain distance. Distance lends perspective and consequently, I get a lot of people asking me which charities I recommend for donations of money or time. My usual answer is, “it depends.” “On what?” they respond. “On what you want from your charitable activities,” I reply. It sounds like a weaselly consultant kind of an answer, but bear with me for a moment. The English word charity comes from the Latin word caritas and means “from the heart,” implying a voluntary act. Caritas is the same root word for cherish. The Jews come at charity from a different direction. The Hebrew word that is usually rendered as charity is t…

Top Eight Cause-Related Marketing Campaigns of 2007

Yeah, You Read it Right. It's a Top 8 List.

More cause-related marketing campaigns are unveiled every day across the world than I review in a year at the cause-related marketing blog. And, frankly, I don’t see very many campaigns from outside North America. So I won’t pretend that my annual list of the top cause-related marketing campaigns is exhaustive.

But, like any other self-respecting blogger, I won’t let my superficial purview stop me from drawing my own tortured conclusions!

So… cue the drumroll (and the dismissive snickers)… without further ado, here is my list of the eight best cause-related marketing campaigns of 2007.

My list of the worst cause-related marketing campaigns of 2007 follows on Thursday.

Chilis and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
I was delighted by the scope of Chilis’ campaign for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. As you walked in you saw the servers adorned in black co-branded shirts. Other elements included message points on the Chilis beverage coas…

Five Steps To Nurture a 30-Year Cause Marketing Relationship

Last Monday, July 22, 2013, March of Dimes released the annual results of its campaign with Kmart... now in its thirtieth year... and thereby begged the question, what does it takes to have a multi-decade cause marketing relationship between a cause and a sponsor?

In the most recent year, Kmart,the discount retailer, donated $7.4 million to the March of Dimes, bringing the 30-year total to nearly $114 million. March of Dimes works to improve the health of mothers and babies.

Too many cause marketing relationships, in my estimation, resemble speed-dating more than long-term marriage. There can be good reasons for short-term cause marketing relationships. But most causes and sponsors benefit more from long-term marriages than short-term hookups, the main benefit being continuity. Cause marketing trades on the trust that people, usually consumers, put in the cause and the sponsor. The longer the relationship lasts the more trust is evidenced.

There's also a sponsor finding cost that…